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Supporting local producers over the holidays

Photo: Scott Streuble
While winter has fully set in, did you know...there are still many ways to use local foods in your holiday meals.  

What produce is available during a MN Winter?

Thanks to root cellars and high tunnels, you can continue to find local carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, kohlrabi, beets, and even kale and lettuce! Locally raised eggs and meat are also available year-round. 

There are many benefits to eating local foods, including improved freshness, reduced transportation miles, and supporting your local economy. 

Why buy local now?

The National Farmers Union reports that for an 11 pound turkey, which sells for an average retail cost of $16.39, the farmer will receive only $0.66. Buying locally and directly from farmers allows farmers to retain a greater share.

Where to find local food

A few places to find local foods in the winter include: 

  • Look for winter farmers markets - Minnesota Grown maintains an excellent interactive map showing winter markets around the state. 
  • Search Minnesota Grown’s product directory to find farms that produce specific things like turkeys, wine, honey, or eggs. You can often reach out directly to a farmer, or see where they sell their products. 
  • Many orchards or farms with roadside stands sell value-added products like apple pies or jams and jellies throughout the winter (as well as apples from their cold storage).
  • Many local craft fairs sell locally produced cottage foods like jams and jellies, as well as things like braided garlic.
  • Check with your local grocery store or co-op. Encourage the produce buyer or manager to source local foods if they do not do so currently. 
Author: Natalie Hoidal, Extension Educator - On-Farm Food Safety

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